I hate to say this because I’ve been a loyal Home Depot customer since I knew what a hardware store was (and the local ACE Hardware jacked up its prices and closed down…and so did Builder’s Square, which I suspect was bought by Home Depot. Anyway…). I stayed with them even with the influx of other home improvement box stores (and my increasing hate of box stores) because they’d done right and had great selection.
I loved them when dad and I were driving around the state looking for a generator four days after Hurricane Rita came through and the whole state had shipped their stock to help victims of Katrina from weeks before. They got a shipment in, just took the shrink wrap off the palette, and dad got the 2nd one and we walked around for the power hookup kit and some extra necessities.
I appreciated them because though there was clear supply and demand issues, and a state of emergency going on for our area…they didn’t price gouge. They kept the generator and everything the same price as before the hurricanes came in. All around the city, hotels were jacking up prices and bottled water shot up to record highs…but these guys didn’t do that.
Now, in the years since, I’ve noticed the checkout lanes have stayed mostly empty, except for the self-checkout lanes. I hate those damned things, and only use them when there’s not a checkout person available. I think everybody does. I think it sucks for the poor cashier monitoring 4 registers and their transactions, and if something goes wrong at each of them (which has happened a few times), they’re running back and forth between their computer and the customer register.
I’m annoyed and considering not going back because when I went there the other day, ALL the registers were replaced with self-checkout. The only one not touched was the returns register, and because of changed layout, maybe the one usually meant for contractors over by the lumber supply.
I didn’t get that far to check.
I suppose somebody would find it neat to just get the scan gun and do it yourself, but I don’t. Who the hell wants to ring up their own stuff? I’m paying for people to have jobs and work while I get these items–isn’t that the deal?
I’m paying for somebody else–in part–to make sure everything is right and ring up my supplies. I’m handing over my earnings to somebody else to put in the till. And we’re communicating while I do so.
And better than that, I’m clearly not stealing anything because they’re handling each item, which will make it less awkward if those detector things go off at some point by accident.
Cashiers used to get more respect from companies. I’m noticing a trend where Home Depot (and other retailers) want everybody on the floor helping people if they need it, but that also means less people generally working unless it’s the weekend. After all, they just freed up 4 or 5 people from cashier duty, maybe just 1 hovering between the kiosks in case something goes wrong.
I wasn’t the only one miffed about the whole thing, and as I rang up $150 worth of stuff, I started thinking why the hell I’d pay them anything again. Cashiers used to be the face of the company, the one that gave the best foot forward and a good impression, especially for those who didn’t require assistance on the floor and just wanted to get rung up and go.
I wonder if they think people like ringing their own stuff. I imagine some stuffy executives were watching videos and calculating how many people went to self-checkout lanes and then decided “hey, people are totally for this. Let’s make them all self-checkout and save some money.”
Well, something those executives should re-examine is this: the only people I know of that do self-checkout (including me) do so for 1 of 2 reasons. Either there are NO cashiers at the people registers, or if there are people at those registers, they tend to have a pretty good line going.
Executives might think the cashiers are going too slow, hence the long lines. But I disagree–the lines are long because people prefer giving their hard-earned money to an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING, no matter the wait. Sometimes this prompts another cashier to come in and go to the self-checkout lane and entice people over.
I only budge from the line (as do others around me) when it’s clear that they’re gonna ring our items up for us at those kiosks.
I know automation’s the future, and I’m sure more people on the sales floor is helpful, but having to ring up my own stuff and hand over money to a faceless, lifeless machine just rubs me the wrong way. I think if I spend any more money at Home Depot, it’ll be through the pick-up service only. At least I’ll know somebody(s) had to go to the shelves and earn their pay by getting the things I need.
Otherwise, I doubt I’ll step foot in another one if this is how they’re going. In a 21st century where face-time with other human beings is already depressingly low, this just sucks the humanity out of my day a little bit more.
It used to be a running joke that Home Depot employees didn’t know anything about what they were selling and weren’t very helpful on the floor. Now they’ll be overly helpful (if they’re being trained on everything under the store roof), but rather impersonal at best.
Not liking this inhuman trend.